Friday, December 14, 2012

the risk of team

Last Friday, the team of which I am a member (officially entitled The Provost's Council) went on a retreat to build ourselves as a team.  We brought on Jim Blanchard of Strategic Positioning to function as a facilitator and used The Birkman Profile as a tool as well as concepts and ideas from Patrick Lencioni's newest book The Advantage. Special thanks and a shout-out to our teammate Tammy Stewart for allowing us to gather at her family's cabin on Lake Travis.  For many people, this type of setting and exercise is a bore and a dread.  Having to get all "soft and fuzzy" drives some individuals crazy.  I happen to like the setting once it gets going - but there is always some fear and trepidation in me as I am driving to the event...mostly because I never quite know where it is going to go.  You see, there's always that moment in these settings when each person has to decide whether or not to TAKE THE RISK to either tell about themselves or comment on someone else.  So the question we have to ask - and answer - is whether or not it is worth the risk to build the team...and then whether or not building the team is worth the risk.

A couple of reasons on why its RISKY to work on the aspect of building a team:

  • you have to be vulnerable
  • you have to allow others to be vulnerable
  • you have to hold yourself accountable
  • you have to hold your teammates accountable
  • you have to hold your boss accountable (assuming he or she is a member of the team)
  • you have to listen to other's comments about what you add to the team
  • you have to listen to other's comments about how you distract from the team
  • you have to tell others what they add to the team
  • you have to tell others how they distract from the team
  • you have to be willing to take the fall as a team
  • you have to put on your team hat and remove your position hat
You will notice that the above list has a lot of "you have to" in it...I am never a fan of being told I have to do something, so my caveat here is that I suppose you can choose not to do these things - and there is a RISK associated with that decision as well.  It will be interesting watching whether or not everyone on The Provost's Council chooses to engage in the "have to's" or not over time.  My belief is that the more everyone on the team engages in these behaviors, the faster the team will function better...and a better functioning the team, the more that gets accomplished...and the more that gets accomplished, the better the mission is served...and the better the mission is served, the more healthy our communities are.  At the end of the day, if I believe in the mission of my institution, the more I have to take the responsibility to engage in behaviors that will lead to a stronger and more fully functioning team.  I'm ready to take the risk...are you?

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